Help w/ this job please (pics)

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by The Curious Porpoise, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. The Curious Porpoise

    The Curious Porpoise LawnSite Member
    Messages: 70

    The guy wants a paver patio for a table and chairs. The dimensions are 15' x 25'. He wants a 3' retaining wall along the 25' run to separate him from his neighbor. The patio will be completely flat. Therefore, the patio will need to start below the 3' windows you see on the side of the house. Obviously, steps would be involved to get from the driveway (where the van is sitting) to the patio.

    I need help in estimating this job (w/o materials). I've done a couple of smaller paver jobs before, but nothing of this scale. Please help...


  2. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,583

    thats a weird place for the outside unit (a/c). Not very good for them to have those lines on the ground, they can get damaged.

    that plastic trash can just thrown any-old-where screams trailer park dot com!

    Based on the untidyness of the yard and the weeds growin in the back lawn - I'd be surprised if this guy really spends the money. Did you pull a budget from him?

    Looks like you may need to build a window well around that side window.

  3. Bru75

    Bru75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 582

    From the pics it looks like the bottom of the existing wall is higher than the basement window. That wall might need to be replaced at a lower grade to make this work without stepping down in the middle of the patio. It may just be the picture, but it also looks like the right end of the wall is lower than the left.
    I'm with DVS, from the looks of the place, I'm not sure the owner will fork over enough dough to make this worth your while.
    As far as pricing, only you can decide that. Just figure your time as best you can.
  4. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Messages: 601

    I agree with the above comments, don't spend too much time on this bid.
  5. betmr

    betmr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,663

    What I see, if you level from the rear down spout, you have to rebuild the driveway wall to lower the footing. If you level off the driveway wall, you have to do something around that nice window, I don't think that was put there intending to close it off with a window well. And a stairway down to the back yard. Everything about this job is afterthought. This was not built with what they now want, in mind. Nothing matches what they want now, any way I look at it, it's a "do over"

    What I see is, rebuild the driveway retaining wall, retaining wall between the properties, and pavers. And don't forget you have to relocate that AC unit.

    Those are my thought's
  6. beegreenlandcare

    beegreenlandcare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 176

    Lots of underlying problems that even I as a maint. provider can see. I'll give it a shot anyhow.
    1. relocate air conditioner-who would want a noisy unit rite where they would want to entertain-not to mention the heat given off?
    2. The wall looks crooked(from the pic). Obviously have to rebuild w/ a footing to match the lower grade needed for the "flat" patio
    3.What are your set backs in your area for the retaining wall?...where's the prop. line?
    4.Why would anyone want to build a patio up against a window-every time it rains the window is gonna get so filthy from splash...what a waste
    5. What is the access to the patio? What? they're gonna walk out their front door to go around to the side for the patio? Poor planning..if any.
    6. As mentioned in previous posts, I also doubt this person wants to spend the money for u to rubuild the project correctly. Things that tell ME this are poor planning, the home looks relatively new but yet looks like a dump, the electrical box isn't even finished being wired
    The only thing I can guess is that the homewoner is choosing this site b/c it mite be the North side of the house and they figure its anice shady place for apatio-purely speculation....
  7. Okiebug003

    Okiebug003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    To me it looks like a new construction. AC unit is your biggest problem, there is no good place for it to go. Driveway wall will need to be rebuildand, and bottemed-out level with the paver patio. As far as an estimate you need to figure out how long it will take and how much per hour is worth your while. While other people say not to I would take the time and give them a bid it could be well worth it.
  8. The Curious Porpoise

    The Curious Porpoise LawnSite Member
    Messages: 70

    As far as the house looking shabby, this is actually a 3/4 million dollar house in a very affluent area.

    As far as why this awkward area was picked, it's because the backyard was declared a wetland by the township and any building is prohibited w/o some serious reclamation of the area first. That also explains why the area looks shabby, because the backyard has been entirely untouched because the home owner isn't allowed to do anything.

    Thanks for the input. Help w/ pricing please...
  9. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 521

    1) Excavation = It looks like you could use the half box measurement, for example, it looks like your highest point is about 5 feet above final intended grade. It also appears that grade smoothly breaks downhill fairly evenly following the same path for the most part on the face of the grade. Thus if you find the total of (15ft x 25 ft x 5ft = 1875 cubic feet) and cut that number in half to represent the half that actually exists and needs to be excavated you have 937 cubic feet which = 34 cubic yards of excavation work just to remove dirt. That's a lot of work and being that close to the house you are going to have to do some by hand. With a bobcat I would plan on spending two days out there getting that broken down and taking down the existing retaining wall and loading in the bobcat and moving it and moving the ac Unit (don't know where, but has to go).
    Excavation = Two days Labor (your rate) + Two days Equipment Bill.

    2) What are you doing with 30 yards of dirt? That's a key component, obviously if you can pile it all up and forget about it life is good, but likely you have to remove or dispurse it...

    3) Get all your excavation work done and then price out as normal...
    The biggest problem I actually see you having is the rebuild of the existing wall that is up against the driveway where the ac unit is. That wall looks like its finish grade could be 6-7 feet from top to bottom when all is said and done and it would probably need engineer specs otherwise you could face liability issues....

    4) As for pricing the paver stuff, it sounds like you have done it before...You should be able to calculate how much you charge per square foot 25 x 15 = 375 square feet of pavers to be laid in.. Don't forget a sub base 25 X 15 X .5 (half foot just as an example) = about 7 yards of material for that...Plus about a yard of masonry sand for leveling and laying the pavers on..

    5) As for the walls, just a square footage thing again...I don't think we are supposed to talk prices on here, but lets say you have one wall that is running perpendicular to house that is 15 feet long and with the added excavation its going to be 6-7 feet high...15 X 7 = 105 sq.ft , then you have another wall that runs parallel to the home (looks like you will have to step this wall down to match grade with neighbors prop) which is 25 feet by and average of 4 feet = 100 sq.ft.

    Basically if you can get your square footage pricing that YOU personally charge for retaining walls and for paver patios, those figures should be executable for that part of your estimate.

    The excavation is based on your day labor rate and equipment fees and I would probably gear in one or two extra days of labor for this job based on some unknown variables...
  10. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,583

    dollar value of property is moot. The yard with weeds looks like a trailer park.

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